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The Australian advantage

Executive team

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Simon Tucker  Chief Executive Officer

Simon P. Tucker was Vice President, Research of Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc with global responsibilities for the Biota pipeline including antivirals for respiratory and blood borne pathogens together with novel antibiotics. Prior to Biota Simon held the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of The Gene Therapy Laboratory at the University of Glasgow, UK and before then Senior Research Investigator, Infectious Disease Research, G. D. Searle Research and Development, St Louis, MO, USA. Simon received his BSc (Hons) degree in biochemistry from the University of Sussex, UK. He completed his PhD in 1988 through the University of Reading, UK while studying avian influenza in the Director’s Group, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, UK. His postdoctoral work was undertaken at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA where he also served as a Senior Research Fellow before joining Searle.

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Alistair Draffan  Executive Vice President, Operations

Alistair G. Draffan has more than 15 years’ pharmaceutical industry experience in the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel drugs. Alistair was Director, Drug Discovery at Biota with responsibility for managing a multidisciplinary group of expert scientists, defining research and IP strategies and ensuring that collaborative R&D was executed to the highest standards. He has led teams working on numerous anti-infective projects including those that successfully identified antiviral candidates for RSV and hepatitis C (nucleosides and non-nucleosides). Alistair worked as a Senior Medicinal Chemist at Celltech R&D (UCB Pharma, UK) before joining Biota in 2002 and holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK and a BSc (Hons) degree in chemistry from the University of Glasgow, UK.

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Melinda Pryor Executive Vice President, Clinical

Melinda Pryor has 9 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and over 10 years’ research experience in tertiary academic settings. Melinda was Associate Director of Clinical Virology at Biota Pharmaceuticals and part of the leadership team responsible for the design and implementation of numerous large multi-centre international clinical trials. She is experienced in leading clinical laboratory teams in the delivery of regulatory compliant clinical testing and resistance monitoring. She has worked on a range of viruses including dengue, hepatitis C, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. Melinda has a PhD in microbiology from Monash University, Australia and has worked as a post-doctoral scientist studying infectious diseases in Australia and the Institut Pasteur, Paris.

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Angela Luttick  Executive Vice President, R&D

Angela Luttick is a highly motivated leader with 17 years’ career experience ranging across state reference, biotechnology and pharmaceutical laboratories. Well accustomed to leading multidisciplinary project teams and establishing working relationships with key opinion leaders in infectious diseases, Angela’s expertise is in the preclinical field of drug discovery. As Associate Director, Drug Screening, at Biota Angela led the biology team for 10 years and was responsible for the generation and integrity of all key discovery-stage biological data required for Biota’s antiviral portfolio. Angela has extensive experience in the preparation of IND packages used in filing numerous FDA submissions. Throughout her career, Angela has worked with a very broad range of blood-borne and respiratory category 2 and 3 viral agents.

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Scientific Advisory Board

Associate Professor Rosemary Ffrench  Chief Science Officer
Rosemary Ffrench is an experienced immunologist whose research interests include studying immunity to viral infections, vaccine development and immunomonitoring of human clinical trials. She obtained her PhD in Viral Immunology at the University of Melbourne, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (USA). Upon her return to Australia she spent four years at Westmead Hospital working on immunity to HIV, followed by 7 years as Senior Scientist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, where her research focused on human immunity to HIV and HCV, and in HIV vaccine development and testing. In 2004 she moved to the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, where she increased her involvement in clinical and translational research, particularly in vaccine development and testing. As an NHMRC Industry Fellow she worked with Select Vaccines in development of their VLP vaccine program. During this period she also established the Burnet ImmunoMonitoring Facility to perform immunological analyses of vaccine and immunotherapies in human clinical trials. Rose is currently Principal Fellow, Centre for Biomedical Research & Head of Viral Immunology Laboratory at the Burnet Institute and has an academic position in the Department of Immunology at Monash University.

Associate Professor Bruce Loveland
Bruce Loveland is a cellular immunologist interested in the immune repertoire and how immune responses develop, are expressed and change. He has focussed on studies of immune effector cells and the underlying genetic, molecular and physiological basis of immunity in organ transplantation, autoimmunity and viral immune responses. His career experience includes working at Melbourne University (PhD 1981), in London (MRC Clinical Research Centre, Harrow), Dallas (Howard Hughes Institute) and returning to Monash University, the Austin Research Institute (as NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, 1996-2004) and the Burnet Institute. Bruce has extensive experience in project and facilities management, cGLP and cGMP requirements, and in translational medical research with technical transfer from research laboratory to clinical trials, particularly for xenotransplantation and for cellular immunotherapies with Phase I and II clinical trials for cancer and persistent hepatitis C infection. A major commitment with Assoc Prof Rosemary Ffrench at the Burnet Institute has been the establishment (2008) and expansion of the ImmunoMonitoring Facility, with quality management and deputy director roles. He is currently a Senior Fellow and Head, Research Support and Facilities at the Burnet Institute.